Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Butler Soy Curls

January 14th, 2012

Butler Soy Curls

If you’ve been to Portland you’ll find plenty vegan food and you’ll also likely experience a thing called soy curls. They’re found everywhere from Homegrown Smoker to Native Bowl. Nothing more than dried soybean protein they have a chewy texture and, like tofu, Butler Soy Curls can take on the flavor properties of whatever you season them with. So when given a few bags of these versatile goodies I brainstormed on what I should prepare first. The obvious choice was a simple barbecue sandwich.

I’m no fan of meat substitutes and I’ve made that clear before. I do, however, realize that fake meats have their place for transitioning vegetarians and the occasional vegan who likes the chance of getting with some junk food. I’ll indulge in junk food from time to time and sometimes one of those fake meats might be what I choose if it’s new or really doesn’t have exact properties of actual meat.

I chose to make saucy barbecue sandwiches using some of the peach BBQ sauce I made and bottled over the summer. Instead of simply soaking the curls for a few minutes as the directions indicated I simmered them in a mixture of broth, seasonings and a little of the peach BBQ sauce for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid had boiled away leaving the soy curls well-flavored before I added them to a saucepan of peach BBQ sauce. I turned them down on low and simmered them again for about 30 minutes. Fresh baked buns awaited great vegan barbecue sandwich.

Butler Soy Curls

Butler Soy Curls hydrated. At this point they have a slightly chewy texture and are ready for your recipe.

 

Butler Soy Curls BBQ

Butler Soy Curls simmering in homemade Peach BBQ Sauce. Getting ready for a great vegan BBQ sandwich.

 

Butler Soy Curls - Vegan BBQ Sandwich

Vegan BBQ Sandwich with Butler Soy Curls

 

The soy curls are slightly chewy and have no flavor on their own so they can be made to fit into most any dish you choose. They’re great for stir fries, sandwiches, fajitas and could be chopped slightly smaller and used in soups or stews.

Butler Soy Curls are available from their website as well as many online retailers.

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Battle of the Nogs

December 5th, 2011
Vegan Nogs: So Delicious - Rice Dream - Silk - Earth Balance

Vegan Nogs: So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog, Rice Dream Rice Nog, Silk Nog and Earth Balance Soy Nog

 

Egg Nog. I once guzzled that stuff by the carton this time of year. I’m a nog lover. A connoisseur of the nog. AficioNOGdo. If your nog is off then I’ll know it. I’m on top of the nog. Etcetera etcetera… Let’s not think about the sugar and fat content in a glass of that drinkable pudding. I think it’s very tasty but of course since the vegan switch years ago egg nog has been off limits. Silk has had their variant on the shelves this time of year for a few seasons and now were confronted with other entries in this holiday guzzle-fest. I welcome them all but only want the one that tastes best and can hold up, as in coat the side of the glass, like a true nog should. No thin watery stuff. Nog should to be thick.

Looking on the shelves in the cold section of the grocery store this season I was greeted by the usual entry by Silk, a good standby when you just have to have the nog  but I also found some new ones. So Delicious has a coconut milk version of nog and Earth Balance has their own nog as well. One I was surprised to find is Rice Dream Nog. You won’t find this one in the refrigerated section, it’s in a septic pack.

I have four choices now for my nog fix and a decison needs to be made as to the best vegan nog available.  The best way to make such a decision and not be skewed is a blind taste test, Pepsi Challenge style. Four glasses blindly filled and letters corresponding to each nog placed in front of each glass. With paper in hand for notes on each nog this nog tasting was ready to get serious.

Vegan Nogs: So Delicious - Rice Dream - Silk - Earth Balance

Vegan nog blind taste-tasting ready to begin. Each glass filled and with a corresponding letter.

 

Vegan Nogs: So Delicious - Rice Dream - Silk - Earth Balance

Top view of nogness. Note color.

 

Tasting was not limited to just me.  Mrs. Nashveggie and The Kid also participated. Mrs Nashveggie is not the most avid nog fan and it shows in her opinions but it’s still good to get such an objective view included. The Kid, on the other hand, likes most anything sweet.

 

Rice Dream Rice Nog

A – Rice Dream $2.99/32oz

My first thought when seeing Rice Dream Rice Nog is it’s not supposed to be pink! Getting past the pinkness and tasting this overly watery drink left little flavor. There are what appears to be spices in the bottom of the glass so that’s a plus but the only one. Pink, watery, bland.  F

Mrs. Nashveggie: Too pink! I don’t want to taste it… Sweet and chalky.

The Kid: It tastes good.

 

Silk Nog

B – Silk Nog $2.69/32oz

I’ve tried this one before but it was still a little hard to pick out from the four. As a usual standby in recent years when I’ve had the urge for some nog it has stood up well. Being critical though, I could point out flaws as well as high points. Silk Nog has a good flavor. There’s nutmeg flavor you can pick out that should be there though the one flaw that makes this one fall is its consistency. While not as thin as Rice Nog it definitely could stand to be a little less runny.  B

Mrs. Nashveggie: Did you put something in this? Smells like yogurt. Tastes like rum.

The Kid: I like this one. I think it’s my favorite.

 

Earth Balance Soy Nog

C – Earth Balance Soy Nog $2.69/32oz

Earth Balance is known for their vegan butter substitutes but lately they have branched out into other endeavors such as mayonnaise and,  more-notably, soy milk. Their seasonal offering of Soy Nog is likely my favorite of the four. It does have a good consistency and could hold up to a brandy, if that’s what you like. The flavor is a little lighter than I prefer but overall this is a good choice.  A-

Mrs. Nashveggie: Gagged. Too thick.

The Kid: It tastes a little sour. Just a little sweet.

 

So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog

D – So Delicious Coconut Nog  $2.99/32oz

I’m no fan of coconut milk beverages. I find them generally fatty tasting and off-putting. I do like coconut but everything has its place and coconut milk isn’t meant to be swilled like a bottle of cheap malt liquor. With that said So Delicious Coconut Nog had the expected consistency. Thick and rich and that works here. It has that right but that about the only thing. I thought I was drinking liquid candy! So sweet! My teeth hurt after drinking this. I couldn’t taste any spice, if there is any for the overpowering coconut flavor and booming sweetness. For those that want an alternative to soy you have this and Rice Dream Rice Nog to choose from. If I was forced to choose one of the two this would be it. For that reason alone I’ll give it a letter grade up. C-

Mrs. Nashveggie: Where’s the spoon? Thickest one. Tastes too much like coconut milk.

The Kid: This one tastes like coconut. Eww.

 

The clear choice of vegan nogs is Earth Balance Soy Nog. A good balance of everything though not perfect. Still, faced with the decision when these four on on the shelf it would be the one to come home from the grocery store with me.

Those are my opinions on the nogly offerings you’ll find this season. Suffice it to say Mrs. Nashveggie is not a Nog fan and I’ll not likely let The Kid near that much sugar at a time so I’ll be drinking what’s left of the nogs. Each of the four have room to improve, some more than others. Hopefully next year someone will have the perfect nog. I can hope.

 

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Robbie’s Worcestershire – Vegan!

May 24th, 2011

Robbie's Worcestershire

I’m a lover of sauces. I cook with it and pour it on my food. I even make my own barbecue sauce. One of my favorites is Worcestershire and one of my favorite uses is putting it on a baked potato. I know that may seem odd to some but until you try it don’t sneer at it. Up to now the only vegan Worcestershire sauces I’ve found have been Amy’s and The Wizard’s. While good, both of those are a little to thick for me and don’t quite hit the flavor. I just discovered Robbie’s Worcestershire, a vegan Worcesterchire that is the most perfect vegan Worcestershire I’ve found. What makes Worcestershire not vegan, you may ask. Anchovies. It is the ingredient in most conventional Worcestershire sauces though I never remembered tasting it in sauces from Lea & Perrins or French’s.

Robbie’s Worcestershire is thin, just as every conventional sauce I’ve used and has the absolute perfect flavor. As a plus, it is the same price as Amy’s and The Wizard’s for twice the amount.

Robbie’s Worcestershire is available at Whole Foods in Franklin.

Time for some potatoes on the grill!

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich and Baked Potato topped with Robbie's Worcestershire & nutritional yeast

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Galaxy Nutritional Foods – Rice Vegan

July 23rd, 2009

Rice Vegan - American

“So, you’re vegetarian?  Why not vegan?”

“I love cheese.”

I have heard that reply many times.   In fact,I said the same thing until I realized the connections cheese and dairy have on the animal cruelty angle as well as what you’re actually eating.  Even vegans like something melted on their sandwich.

“I’ve tried those fake cheeses, they don’t melt like the real thing.”

I know where you’re coming from.  Nothing worse than expecting cheesy goo and getting mealy gunk.  So, finding some truly dairy-free cheese singles the image of gooey sandwiches fill my head, but the thought of a mealy texture overshadows it.  I tried Galaxy Nutritional Foods Rice Vegan as opposed to the typical soy cheeses that are available.  It is available in both block-style and singles, I have a few packs of the latter, Pepper Jack, Cheddar and American flavors, to give a try.  Of course the test that first comes to mind, where the cheese should run and hold firm two slices of bread would be the perfect grilled cheese, and it works great for that.  Even adding a few slices of fresh out of the garden tomato and gluing it all together, it makes one of my favorite sandwiches.

But a grilled cheese? That’s too easy.  We need more layers to meld, more flavors to lend it’s own taste to.  Patty melt, that’s should do the trick.  And besides, I love patty melts and it has been a long time since I indulged in greasy goodness.

melt4.jpg

So, let’s see, we have some tasty grilled onions a few pieces of fresh rye and some veggie burger patties mashed as flat as possible, it works great, trust me.  But, what is a patty melt without the melt?  Two slices of Rice Vegan American should work (Sorry, no Swiss available).  Rice Vegan seems to do the trick, it does need a bit longer to melt as traditional cheese but the melty goodness can be attained and the flavor is good, no mealiness.   The only thing you don’t have with Rice Vegan is that stringiness when you pull two pieces apart, but the flavor is there and the ability to hold all of those layers together is there.

Vegan Patty Melts with Rice Vegan

Also, I have found many non-dairy cheeses contain casein to lend the ability to melt.  I don’t understand the point of making a soy or almond cheese and then adding a dairy ingredient to it.  If you can’t make it truly dairy-free then why bother?  Rice Vegan is dairy free and contains no casein, yet still has the ability to melt.

Vegan Patty Melt with Rice Vegan

Of all of the single serving cheese substitutes I have tried, Rice Vegan comes out on top.  It melts well and tastes excellent.  Compared to traditional cheese it has half a gram of saturated fat as compared to Kraft Singles, which contains 2.5 grams per slice! If you still have a cheese craving Rice Vegan can fill the void.

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GardenBurger Hula GardenSteaks

May 16th, 2009

GardenBurger GardenSteaks Hula

I don’t do many product reviews here but thought it was time for one.  I have been eying GardenBurger’s Gourmet GardenSteaks for  awhile now and decided to give them a shot.  At $5.99 for two it wasn’t an easy choice but I thought maybe they’re worth it.  Now anyone who reads this blog or know me otherwise knows veggie burgers are my junk food.  I usually down two of them once, sometimes twice if I’m feeling edgy, a week.   Served up with a heaping side of tater tots or a couple baked potatoes they are quite pleasing.  I decided to go along with the tropical vibe the box said I would encounter with these particular patties I would have a fried plantain with them and since I had a fesh pineapple handy that was in need of being devoured I should cook up a couple slices of it along side as well.

These are pretty hefty patties and I thought twice about having both but decided to not go hungry and threw both in the pan along with a slice of pineapple for each.  I am not a directions follower, that “cook 6 minutes each side and serve” crap is worthless.   Good things come to those who wait and I cook a veggie burger for no less than 45 minutes, on low, flipping about every 5 minutes.  I know you may think that’s burning them but no, that’s getting some amazing flavor from a patty.  I would be changing nothing in my cooking regiment with these.  I brought them to a good sizzle, turned down the heat to low and checked back every few minutes.  I served them up with the aforementioned plantain and on two fresh, homemade buns with lettuce and tomato.  They have a good texture and aren’t very mushy.  I could taste the chunks of ginger and noticed large flakes of coconut.  I did, however, find them to be a bit on the sweet side and decided to forgo the sliced pineapple since it lent only more sweetness.  Still, a bit sweet for me as a veggie burger.  If I did try these again I would add a bit of heat with some peppers instead of the pineapple slices and use mustard instead of the Vegenaise I typically use.

GardenBurger GardenSteaks Hula

Two of these at a time are a bit much but I toughed my way through them both, and the fried plantain, which is always a tasty treat.  Next time I’ll be spreading the box over a couple nights.

I saw two other varieties when I bought these, a black bean and a Tuscan flavor.  The Tuscan is not vegan, the Hula is.  I am unsure about the veganess of the Black Bean variety but if it is it will be tried next.

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